Al-Sadr to Extend Ceasefire

Six-month renewal of cleric's truce key to Iraq security gains, US says
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2008 11:57 AM CST
Followers of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr carry symbolic coffins to commemorate the fourth anniversary of a Shiite uprising against U.S. forces in Sadr City, Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Feb. 21,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr will prolong by six months the ceasefire that has reduced violence across Iraq, officials tell Reuters. Sadr today sent a sealed sermon to mosques across Iraq to be read during midday prayers tomorrow. Exact details won’t be known until those envelopes are unsealed, but “the general idea is that there will be an extension,” an official said.

Sadr has been under pressure from within his movement to lift the truce, which they say has been abused by Iraqi security forces. But a US general was pleased. “When Muqtada al-Sadr called a ceasefire, a large number of those Shiite extremists … stopped shooting at us,” he said. Sadr’s Mahdi Army has fought US troops and Sunni groups alike.